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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

June 03, 2003

GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH AGAINST "AMERICAN-ZIONIST EMPIRE"

Christian Action for Israel points to this piece in news items from Arutz (Israel National News)
The Greek Orthodox Church - owner of many important properties in Jerusalem, such as the Knesset and the President's Residence - continues its staunch support of the Palestinian Authority. The "Palestine Information" internet site, sponsored by Hamas, reports that on Israel's recent Independence Day, Church spokesman Atallah Hana convened a large gathering in support of the Arab fight against Israel. The gathering took place in the Dehaishe refugee camp, near Bethlehem.
"The 'right of return,'" Hana said, "is not up for negotiation at all, and no Palestinian has the right to cede it. Whoever does so is not a Palestinian." Regarding the Road Map, he said, "After the fall of Baghdad [to the Americans,] they want us now to surrender to the Road Map that has an end but no beginning. They want us to give up to the American-Zionist empire - but we will never give up."

The Greek Orthodox Church owns the land on which stand many important buildings in Jerusalem: The Knesset, the Prime Minister's Residence, the President's Residence, Heichal Shlomo and the Great Synagogue, and more. Its spokesman said at the rally, "It is not out of the question for the Palestinians to regain Jerusalem. But this is only if the Palestinians remain firm and united. We will not give up to terrorist Zionism."

Hana has paid solidarity visits to terrorist families, Arutz-7's Shimon Cohen reports, and he took part in an exhibition of photos glorifying the PA warfare against the IDF in Bethlehem during Operation Defensive Shield.

Despite periodic attempts by the Greek Orthodox Church to downplay Hana's importance, Cohen reports that at a recent Easter celebration, Irineos - a leading candidate to head the Greek Orthodox Church in Israel - greeted Hana with kisses and hugs, seated him to his right, and had him translate his Greek remarks into Arabic for the audience.

Prime Minister Sharon wished to appoint Irineos as head of the Greek Orthodox Church late last year, but backed down in the face of heavy objections from most government ministers. Arutz-7 revealed a letter last year that Irineos wrote to Yasser Arafat and that included anti-Semitic comments. The ministers objected to Irineos' appointment because of his close connections with Arafat and his past offers to grant church-owned lands in Jerusalem to the PA.